Vacation time for employees: 5 ways to make it work.

Vacation Time for Employees improves productivity, attendance rates and worker satisfaction.

The problem is – only employers seem to know it, and most of them don’t make the most of it.

If your workforce is something you value – but turnover is higher than you’d like and a few star performers really keep your ship afloat then read carefully and take the appropriate steps.

Your best performers may very well be juggling a continual dilemma in their minds. You pay them well, but they always doubt that it’s enough. You’re probably not totally comfortable with the rest of the portfolio of benefits you offer, either. Some of them – health insurance for example – are probably exceedingly expensive. There’s a not a lot of room for improvement there.

Likewise, you’ve probably even tweaked policies to try to get the most out of most of your benefits pacakge, to make employees happy and maybe you’ve even bent policy rules for some employees.

  • But vacation time for employees is one of the most neglected and “under-tweaked” of benefits that are typically offered by mid-sized and larger businesses.

These five tips for optimizing vacation time for employees are designed not only to get your employees to take their vacation days, but to improve employee morale, and to better retain the employees most important to you.

1) Remind All Employees of the Policy on Vacation Time for Employees at least once every year.

This can be a relatively formal email that spells out the way the policy is enforced and what’s the required notification time and all of the details. Even this formal message can have a profound effect on the thinking and reception of all of your labor force.

2) Management and Key Employees need to Know that you understand the benefits of actually taking vacation time.

Often enough, they really don’t know. Especially star performers are pushing themselves. Sometimes too hard. But more important, if they’re pushing themselves at all, they really will be better performers with a few, regularly scheduled, paid days of rest. Just like you may have your doubts, they have even more doubts. That’s what makes them star performers!

Tell them. Reassuring key employees and star players that their time off is theirs and they are encouraged to take it just makes sense. You may send an email to the lot of them explaining exactly what management thinks, why management thinks so and what they can do to schedule a day off. It works.

3) Make vacation time for employees easy to schedule.

Whether it’s one or two days or a full week off, employees don’t want to go to speak with a distant HR person. They have their own reservations and concerns. Employees should be able to get approval from an immediate supervisor with whom they’re comfortable and be able to schedule the actual time-off by email or your online scheduling software.

4) Keep it private!

This one is important for really good employees, and it often gets overlooked. It’s not a solid gold rule, but some key players still feel a sense of shame that they’re taking time off because their work ethic is simply important to them. It doesn’t need to be ridiculed even if it is contrary to the official disposition we’re spelling out here. Even while you are publicly encouraging vacation time – you can still respect when employees don’t necessarily want to announce that they’ll be taking time off.

5) Celebrate selectively

With respect to that same privacy, it is always a good idea to welcome your employees back! Particularly if you know their vacation was for a special occasion, a wedding or anniversary trip, or maybe it was just for something extra special – a solid acknowledgement after the fact is also important. Vacations can be highlights to professional lives as well as to personal lives, and there’s no reason why employees won’t appreciate that much more knowing that you are glad they’re back. This can also be an important directive for their more immediate supervisors.

Vacation time for employees is not just an expensive downtime. It’s a key part of employee retention, and one that will work. You’ll see employees turning down offers for more money just because they know that you are willing to manage employee stress and job-site policy with them in mind.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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